Review: Red Tails


Red Tails

  • Starring: Terrence Howard (Iron Man 2), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Men of Honour), David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
  • Directed by: Anthony Hemingway
  • Synopsis: “1944. As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces, the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options – including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world.”
  • Rated: PG-13 for war violence and language.
  • Trailer:

“Nothing is difficult, everything’s a challenge.” -Dr. Roscoe Brown of the original Tuskegee Airmen

20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm productions present Red Tails: One of my most anticipated films of January!

I spotlighted this film back in July 2011 (HERE), and with each subsequently released trailer and tv spot, my excitement grew! A fan of history, war movies, and the account of the Tuskegee Airmen, I could not wait for January 20th! As fast as I could, I flew into the theater to see this high-flying tribute to one of the most successful fighter squadrons of the entire second World War.

Red Tails did not disappoint.

Despite several critics bashing this film as a “nice, but ultimately lacking attempt at a convincing war movie,” Red Tails brings with it a lot of emotion, excitement, history, and strife. George Lucas actually worked on this project for over 20 years (since 1988) in order to collect the appropriate talent in cast and crew to bring a worthy film focusing on the determined dogfighters to the big screen. Take a moment to watch this video about Lucas’ making of Red Tails.

The two biggest successes of this film: The cast and the action. The time spent assembling this film together paid off. With an amazing cast that portrays each individual in such a passionate and powerful way, each of the characters in the film (regardless of screentime) showcase their individual personality and add great depth to the otherwise possibly stereotypical characters in a war flick.

(I actually found myself identifying with one of the characters and relating to the other characters with real-life friends of mine own. I’d argue that that is a big testament to the strength of the characters and realism of their relationships when each of them reminded me of the bond I have with real-life friends.)

The relationship among the soldiers was real and, because of this, when casualties occurred (as they do in war), audience members may, themselves, feel a slight sense of loss after having made a connection with the characters themselves.

The struggles that the Tuskegee Airmen faced are genuinely told and are not avoided in this film. I appreciated Lucas and Hemingway showing not only the global struggles of World War II, but also the struggles that America faced within itself in terms of racial segregation. To avoid these issues would have been a gross misrepresentation of the events that transpired, but including them added a greater sense of reality and appreciation for all that these soldiers truly endured…on both fronts.

So much in this film seemed real! The rewarding heart-pulsing action, the thrill and excitement of the hunt, the high-flying aerial aerobics, the comradery, etc. Red Tails showcases almost every emotion possible and will cause most to shout and applaud at every victory, tear up at each loss, yet be determined to persevere to the last man and to the last minute. To fight…for all worth fighting for.

While some portions of the film appear to be nothing but fillers, when taken in with focus, each scene adds a peek into the character and soul of the entire unit and its constituents. Red Tails as a whole is nothing short of inspiring and exciting; proving that some of the best stories still come from real-life events!

Courage truly has no color, but if it did, I’d call it RED.

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

Score:  4 out of 5 stars for Red Tails (See this movie!)

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Movie News Monday!”


  1. The dogfights are fun but everything else is filled with corniness, lame acting, predictable story arc, and moments where the film feels like a video-game rather than based on a true story. A great story to be told, but told in a very poor way. Good review right here though T.


  2. I’m torn with this one- I kinda want to see it in theaters, but I’m worried that Lucas’s involvement will turn it into a CGI-laden mess. Good to know you liked it, though- that may push me closer to actually taking the time to see it in theaters.

    Thanks for the read!


  3. I’m usually someone to judge a movie based on its poster and looking at the poster it seems like a horrible one. Seeing your score however I think I at least should give it a chance to find out myself.


    • Judge a movie by its poster, huh? I never knew that. Man, I will have to pay more attention to how the plays out this year!

      I know a lot of critics are hating on this film, but I really thought it to be great! If you get to see it, let me know! Thanks!


  4. Wow ur review is so well written. I think critics and many bloggers fell on the bandwagon of what alot of bad reviews this movie was given. Im happy to see that you were able to go in to the theatre and take this movie for what it was. It wasn’t suppose to provide viewers with anything new, like awesome ariel fighting, and the story was suppose to stay true to the men that it was representing, whic I believe that it did. It is a note on history, not a misguided action flick, which I think some people fail to realize. It had weaknesses, which I felt you pointed out well, but strengths too. You enjoyed it more than I did, and I thought it could have been more tightly knit. But I am happy you liked it. I was also happy to see that it ranked well above Haywire despite poor reviews. :). Very nice review T!


      • Well you know my viewing plans will consist of whatever’s being released this weekend, Man on the Ledge, The Grey, One for the Money (gag…because I know this is going to be horrible), and I may also check out Albert Nobbs.

        What about yourself?


      • ooh! The Grey has the makings of being pretty fantastic! I’ll be interested in your thoughts on that and Albert Nobbs (as I prob won’t be able to see that one anytime soon).

        I am hoping to see Man on a Ledge and The Grey myself. I’m hoping. Life and plans may take a different direction though! We’ll see!


  5. i guess i did this in the wrong order, i should have read this b4 i commented on the Monday news…so glad you liked this T. the trailer i saw looked like a video game, which is what i thought Phantom Menace was like. I’ll probably go see this now 🙂


Psst!! Join in! Leave a Comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s